Charles Pinkerton Scholarship Fund
Charles R. Pinkerton, father, fiancé, and friend, of Morgantown, West Virginia, died Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017; the result of a motorcycle accident. He had few worldly desires and enjoyed talking about his friends more than himself. He leaves behind an eleven year old son, Cainen Pinkerton, and his bride-to-be, Christina Singletary. Charles’ tragic death was 20 days prior to what would have been their wedding day.
Charles, who could have been confused with the happiest man on earth were it not the case that he was that man, came from humble roots in rural Mill Creek, West Virginia. With a big heart, and a lot of moxie, he’d made it a long way in thirty-seven years. Some would say he had it all. Charles was certain that he did. He had a son to whom he was devoted; a fiancée with whom he was madly in love; a BA, MBA, and JD, all from West Virginia University; a warm house with two dogs--Georgia and Bella; and a flourishing law practice, which Christina had recently joined. He was fond of Friendship Hill, where he took frequent walks.
Cainen, a proud son and the only person accused of a smile rivaling his father’s, inherited Charles’ intellect but gratefully--and Charles was the first to say--exceeded his father scholastically. Charles’ passion was giving Cainen the sort of things the world had not afforded kids from Mill Creek, but it was less the things that mattered. What Charles wanted his son to have the most were the experiences: summer camps, travel, and the smells and sights of the world near and far. That passion, shared by those who loved Charles, will also survive.
Life can have a disturbing way of normalizing the grieving process, but news of Charles’ death hit like a punch in the gut, with a pain not known before. A classmate first responded, “Tell me this isn’t our Charles Pinkerton.” A friend could only chokingly mutter, “No.” Another searched for words before saying, “That smile.” No one who met him could ever forget his permanent, trademark smile; it lit up the room, and made your day. The intractable emotion felt by so many recalls W.H. Auden:
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
To take Charles from this earth, challenges us to conclude that either there is no God, or God be damned. But that can’t be right. It cannot be that hopelessness is the enduring remainder of the most indefatigably optimistic person we ever knew. Charles wouldn’t be hopeless. The only thing that motivates is to honor who he was by emulating what defined him: seeing past the everyday trials and living every moment convinced that existence is the happiest thing that ever happened.
Charles was right about that. And it's what he would want.